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We Knew it was Coming!

I feel like a kid in school with a writing assignment: “What does Sequestration Mean to me?”

My husband just turned 62 years old on January 28 and on Monday; he will begin four weeks without pay. That means the company he works for, will allow him to continue to come to the office and search for a new job.  He will have no work to do. We will still have medical benefits for four weeks.

He’s already been putting out his resume’ and has had a couple of interviews. Bill is an Oracle DBA with a TS/SCI security clearance, so his skills are in demand. We both feel confident he will get a new position, but when?

As I write this, I am going to try to describe what this means to us without being whiny. I don’t need sympathy, but I do want friends, neighbors, family and politicians to understand exactly what Sequestration means to our family and then perhaps garner a better understanding of what it means in a ripple effect.

We are in better circumstances than most Americans. We owe no debt. We have no house payment, no car payment, and no credit card bills. We have enough savings on hand to live for a while without dipping into our modest retirement fund. Our vehicles are fairly new, so shouldn’t need a lot of costly repairs. We won’t need to worry about buying food like some people will.

The beast that will eat our money like wildfire is medical expenses. After these 4 weeks of grace, we are eligible for Cobra, so we won’t be completely on our own, but that coverage is not cheap. Bill and I both take medications for high blood pressure and high cholesterol and I have a thyroid deficiency and glaucoma. Last year, we paid $994.00 for prescriptions after insurance. I can’t begin to estimate what that would cost without insurance.

I’m sure we have some medical benefits as Bill is a retiree from the United States Air Force. Once we began civilian life 24 years ago, we never used our military benefits. We thought since we could afford to pay our own way with the help of civilian employers’ insurance plans, we’d leave those benefits for people who needed them. (Here’s where it’s going to get whiny!)

Our whole lives are an example being responsible. We borrowed money to buy cars, but we always paid them off ahead of schedule. We borrowed money to buy a home, but we paid it off ahead of schedule. We employed people when we could, for car repairs or maintenance we could not do ourselves, but always looked for people who needed the work; families down on their luck or someone recently lost their job. We’ve donated money to others less fortunate and perhaps most of all, we donate out time to help our community.

When I worked I was always there on time and I never called in sick. (Frankly, I never get sick unless you count cancer a couple of times.) Bill, in the 37 years we’ve spent together, only missed work when stricken twice with kidney stones. This is not exaggeration, it’s the truth. (Two of our three children had perfect attendance records all through school, too!) We worked opposing shifts when our children were young so we would not have to pay for child care. Vacations usually meant a trip to Indiana to spend time with our family.

I’m taking this whole Sequestration thing personally. Bill and I are just the beginning of a tide. Our stable, responsible lives are disrupted and our modest lifestyle is in jeopardy because a government contract has been cut.

I absolutely believe the government needs to be more responsible with debt. I understand the need to cut spending and services. I think government at the local, state and federal level needs to learn to live within their means. Yet, I can’t help whining; “Why us?” More than that, I wonder, what is going to happen to all the people who do have mortgage payments, car payments, and credit card bills?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Wanda Carter February 09, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Sequestration to me is the United States Department of Defence. These are cuts we should not go without. People have been losing jobs for years, and have been putting in applications left, and right. People also have been paying high cobra insurance. All I can say is join your community in what they have been going through for a long while. No offence to you.
Janelle A February 09, 2013 at 12:47 PM
I don't really understand why God put us on this planet only to have our lives be so hard. Why is God so stingy? We get old and our bodies fall apart. I dread the future.
Connie Moser February 09, 2013 at 01:38 PM
Well, I must be a pretty poor writer if two women read this and totally misconstrued what I had to say :-) The whole thing is about being responsible for yourself...whether you are local, state, federal or individual. You must have missed the part about NOT using benefits we have "earned" ?... and that this is the 3rd time we've faced unemployment- oh I didn't put that in there. I also didn't mention being eligible for WIC while we were active duty- We didn't take that either. I didn't mention all the long hours or the long commutes. The point is the government at all levels lives beyond it's means while ordinary people struggle to live within theirs.
Nancy Lengyel February 09, 2013 at 01:56 PM
The values we teach our children are not the same values the government has. Be responsible, show up, do your job well, don't spend beyond your means or use up what you don't need, work diligently. I get it, Connie.
Connie Moser February 09, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Thank you Nancy! :-)
Shirley Collins February 09, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Connie, thank you for sharing the experience of your family. Personally feel that when it hits the fan, possibly in March, that all areas of family life will be affected. Know that Dale City and Woodbridge area are better places since you arrived in PWC and what you and Bill do to improve the area. Would take my hat off to you but then my gray hair would be showing. Keep on keeping on.
Connie Moser February 09, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Shirley, Thank you for all you've done in PWC to pave the way for more folks to follow in your footsteps! Now can someone go back up there and change my poor spelling? "it's" should be "its" I need those red wavy lines to catch my attention to errors before I hit "enter" :-)
Janelle A February 11, 2013 at 09:40 AM
If paying for medical expenses forces someone to use up their savings or go into debt, then that person is, technically, living beyond their means. Most people, however, would not accuse someone afflicted with glaucoma ( an condition that, if left untreated, can lead to blindness) of financial irresponsibility simply for purchasing their medicine even if it meant running up their credit card. Is "living inside your means" the real test for responsible living?
G Neary February 14, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Connie, your last sentence says it all. That is what I took away from you article.

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